Thursday, November 20, 2014

New Gathering '3st of the Month' Brings Nashville's Drinking Class Together

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 9:50 AM

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3st of the Month (Thirst, get it?) is the brainchild of Jesse Goldstein, a local marketing professional with a lot of experience in food and drink marketing at his primary business as The Food Sheriff. Goldstein has partnered with the promotional team over at The Mountain to create 3st of the Month, a by-invitation gathering of wine, spirits and beer fans who gather on the third day of every month to celebrate "booze, food and all the good things in life."

After just a few months, the group has grown into a vibrant community of enthusiasts that share their love of strong drink and boisterous interaction. Although you need an invitation to attend the monthly events, once you are invited by a current member you can invite somebody else for every event you attend. In other words, if you're into cocktails and spirits, you probably know somebody who can get you in, so ask around. This isn't Skull and Bones here ...

Alternatively, you can contact 3st directly and ask for an invitation, since they periodically open up membership. So what can you expect at one of these events? Local, regional and national alcohol suppliers recognize the value of getting a group of, how shall I put this, avid consumers in a room to sample their wares. Each month's event has a theme that organizes the decor, food and offering of spirits. Past months have featured friends and family, tiki, whiskey and day drinking, and each event has proved to be quite entertaining and informative.

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Mayday Brewery Turns 2 and You're Invited to the Party

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 8:00 AM

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If you haven't made the trip to Murfreesboro to visit Mayday Brewery, you've been missing out on some big fun! The brewery is located in an old textile facility located at 521 Old Salem Road, and owner Ozzy Nelson has taken advantage of all that space to install a large brewhouse along with plenty of outdoor decks and indoor rooms for drinking and music.

Nelson opened Mayday on Nov. 20, 2012, so both he and his brewery are celebrating their birthday today. But Ozzy knows that parties are better on the weekend, so he has scheduled Mayday's 2nd Anniversary Bash for this Saturday, Nov. 22, from 1 to 8 p.m. Mayday is partnering with Movember Murfreesboro for a charity event benefiting prostate cancer awareness and research. The free event is free will and feature an auction of local artists’ work, a mustache competition and limited-edition “Mayday Movember” T-shirts. there will also be musical entertainment from Thelma and the Sleaze, and Omega Swan.

All proceeds from auction and shirt sales will go to the Movember charity, so head on down for a great time with some fine beer while you benefit a good cause!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Brighten Up Thanksgiving With Light, Acidic Wines

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 12:42 PM

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If you ask some people, “What kind of wine is good for Thanksgiving?” the answer would be “any, as long as there’s plenty of it.” But if you’re actually looking for something a little different — maybe something to offset a heavy and big meal — try some lighter, acidic wines that will be refreshing and bright (as in, will perk you up without filling you up). Rieslings, sauvignon blancs, and even rosés can help lighten up a day of marathon eating … and help save room for more food. Here are a couple of wines that are worth trying that taste great and are budget friendly at less than $15 per bottle.

Tariquet Rosé de Pressée. This French wine is well-suited to pair with turkey as well as the many side dishes. While acidic, it’s not terribly tart, so it won’t get you in the jaw if you have a sip with your cranberry sauce. Best served chilled, it is mildly spicy with strawberry, raspberry and floral notes and feels a bit spritzy on the tongue.

Mulderbosch Steen Op Hout Chenin Blanc. This South African white should also be served chilled and has an array of fruity notes, including lime, pear, guava and passionfruit, as well as floral notes from honeysuckle and orange blossom. It would pair well with a variety of foods but also be just as good on its own between plates; it's quite refreshing. And at nearly 14 percent alcohol by volume, it will also get the job done, if you know what I mean. And what I mean, of course, is make Thanksgiving time a little tastier and possibly more entertaining than without it.

Both wines are available throughout the Nashville area.

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Nashville Brewers Team Up to Support Charity Honoring Stephanie Weins

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Nashville brewers united to show support for Stephanies Fight
  • Nashville brewers united to show support for Stephanie's Fight
I am consistently impressed by the cooperative attitudes of Nashville's brewing community. From home brewers to the largest commercial operations, local beer lovers are quick to help out with ingredients, recipes, support and general goodwill whenever a member of the brewing fraternity/sorority has a need. And the owners of our local breweries are just generally what we would call "good people."

So it should come as little surprise that when Kent Taylor, the owner of Blackstone Brewing Co., decided to release a special beer to raise funds for his personal favorite charity, his fellow Nashville brewmasters jumped in to help out. The charity is "Stephanie's Fight," a fund to donate money to lung cancer research. It is named in honor of Stephanie Weins, the co-founder of Blackstone who passed away on Valentine's Day earlier this year. Weins was affectionately known as "Lady Blackstone" and was much beloved by the Nashville craft beer community.

Weins loved Belgian beers, but Blackstone hasn't been known for producing many of those particular styles of beer. So in her memory, their brewers have created Stephanie's Dubbel, a Trappist beer made with imported Belgian malts and candy sugar.

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Olive and Sinclair Wins Prestigious 'Made in the South' Award from Garden & Gun

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 7:48 AM

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In just five years Garden & Gun's annual "Made in the South" awards have become one of the most prestigious recognitions that a Southern craftsperson can receive. Nashville has had some winners and runners up in the past including Otis James' bow ties, Emil Erwin's leather products and Belle Meade Bourbon, and this year a local purveyor took home the big prize in the food category.

After considering quite a few worthy entries from across the region, head food judge Chris Hastings of Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Ala., selected the new line of Duck Fat Caramels from Scott Witherow and his crew at Olive and Sinclair. Lesley first told y'all about these delicious morsels earlier this year, and they were a real hit at the recent Music City Food + WIne Festival.

Over at G&G's website announcing the honor, here's how WItherow describes his thinking and the history behind his tasty sweet treat:

“Using duck fat instead of butter brings a unique richness to caramel,” he says. “It’s like the difference between frying potatoes in butter and frying them in duck fat.” But that doesn’t mean these caramels taste like part of a hunt camp dinner. The fat is a subtle presence, a counterbalance to a healthy amount of cane sugar, alongside traces of salt, pepper, chile, and thyme. “You wouldn’t want the caramels to be overly savory,” Witherow says. “Balance is important.” Not only do the caramels pay tribute to the sporting life, but the box they arrive in also tells a story: Decades ago, the company responsible for Witherow’s packaging manufactured boxes for a now-defunct shotgun shell company. It agreed to let the confectioner adapt the design to suit his purposes—as with the caramels, bringing a little bit of his own flair to a classic.

If you'd like to try these award-winning caramels, you can order them directly from Olive and Sinclair's website or find them at many specialty retailers around town. They would make an excellent holiday gift for the food lover on your list. But you might want to buy an extra box for yourself!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Sweet Spot: Mas Tacos' Fried Plantains

Posted By on Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 3:45 PM

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The Sweet Spot is a weekly Bites feature where sugar addict Megan Seling reviews some of the best, worst and weirdest sweet treats sold here in Nashville. It appears Tuesdays.

What it is: Fried Plantains with Sweet Cream

Where I found it: Mas Tacos, $3

What it tastes like: Don't give me fruit for dessert. Ever. Don't hand me an apple or a bowl of sliced peaches in cream, because I will not fall for it. While fruit is delicious, fruit is not dessert. Today, though, I was reminded that there is one exception to my otherwise steadfast rule and that is the fried plantains at Mas Tacos. Unlike bananas or berries or pineapples, plantains don't need to be drowning in cream, baked into a pie or boiled down into a rich sauce in order to become a sweet, suitable end-of-meal dish — plantains just need some butter or oil and a fork. Mas Tacos does plantains right.

Unlike every time I try to make plantains at home (OK, the one time I tried to make fried plantains at home), Mas Tacos fry their plantains just past the point of when you think you'd need to pull the fruit off the heat, just as outer layer has started to blacken. It's in that moment, those critical extra few seconds, that the really good, deep caramelization happens. The fruit's edges become a little chewy, to the point where some sugary bits might get stuck in your molars, and there is a subtle and sweet charred flavor. The inside of the fruit is bright yellow and very buttery — I don't know why I bothered getting tacos. They just took up stomach space that could've otherwise been filled with more plantains.

Before serving, Mas Tacos drizzles a little bit of sweetened condensed milk over the fruit, but it's not necessary. Unlike every other fruit in the world (looking at you, mangos), fried plantains require no other flourish.

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Donate a Turkey (and Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Rolls and More) to Nashville Rescue Mission

Posted By on Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 11:45 AM

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  • PHOTO: Nashville Rescue Mission
As mentioned in this week's Holiday Guide, there are plenty of local charities looking for extra help this holiday season (and every season, really). One way to ensure your fellow Nashvillians have a nice Thanksgiving is to pick up a few things for the Nashville Rescue Mission as you do your own holiday grocery shopping — they'll be serving over 5,500 meals to hungry and homeless folks, and they need your help setting the table.

Their shopping list includes all the traditional foods — turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes, salad, pies and rolls — as well as serving items like styrofoam cups, plastic flatware, napkins and salt and pepper. The full list can be found here.

Donations can be dropped off at the Donation Center at 616 Seventh Ave. S. Mon-Sat 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

See even more great organizations here.

Black Abbey Celebrates 'Tapsgiving' at The Row Kitchen and Pub

Posted By on Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 11:13 AM

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If you want to get a headstart on Turkey Day, but just don't feel like cooking yet, Black Abbey Brewing Co. and The Row Kitchen & Pub have the answer for you this Wednesday, Nov. 19. They are teaming up for an evening of food, beer and fun from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Row, at 110 Lyle Ave. in Midtown.

The $30 dinner includes four courses of food paired with beers from Black Abbey, including an opening salvo of deviled eggs with pimento cheese and bacon paired with Black Abbey's The Special and a main course of smoked turkey and corn muffins accompanied by the brewery's excellent Guy Fawkes brew.

To hold yourself a space at the pre-holiday table, call The Row at 615-682-3814 or email emma@therownashville.com for reservations.

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James Beard Foundation Releases 2014 Good Food Org Guide

Posted By on Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 8:21 AM

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To most food fans, the James Beard Foundation's primary purpose is to give out their annual awards for best chef, best restaurant, best cookbook, etc. They also host guest chefs from around the world for dinner events in James Beard's old house in Manhattan. Several Nashville chefs have been invited to cook at the James Beard House in the past, and it's considered a tremendous honor.

It also sponsors scholarships and fellowships for aspiring chefs, an effort that was supported by a fun event last weekend at Green Door Gourmet.

But another initiative of the James Beard Foundation is their the first annual “Good Food Org Guide.” Produced in partnership with foodtank.com, this guide aspires to be the definitive listing of "nonprofit organizations that are doing exemplary work in the United States in the areas of food and agriculture, nutrition and health, hunger and obesity, and food justice." In addition, the guide is limited to "nonprofit, scholarly and municipal initiatives have been selected in order to spotlight efforts that are focused on community building and engagement, advocacy, and service."

The guide lists the organizations alphabetically without ranking them, but if you head to the FoodTank site, you can download the guide as a digital file here, which also lists the entries by state.

Here in Tennessee, the listed groups include Community Food Advocates, GrowMemphis, Hands On Nashville’s Urban Agriculture Program, Nashville Grown and the Tennessee Organic Growers Association, plus many national organizations that also make a local impact on our food community. Each listing also includes a short profile of the agency or organization as well as contact info.

So if you're looking for a way to get involved or an organization to contribute to, take a peek at the 2014 Good Food Org Guide as part of your research.

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OATrageous Oatmeals Proves Oats Can Be Great Beyond the Breakfast Table

Posted By on Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 7:38 AM

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I’m a big fan of just about everything cookbook author Kathy Hester produces. Whether vegan, vegetarian or omnivore, her recipes and cookbooks have always easy answers for me when I’m asked for recommendations. Last year, I shared a recipe from her Great Vegan Bean Book, and I’d also recommend her slow-cooker books as well. Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just for You is specifically for smaller meals.

Her latest book — OATrageous Oatmeals — tackles oats, despite the fact that they aren't the current “it” grain. But they’re still worthy of attention. Oats are healthy, hearty and generally gluten-free whole grains that are plentiful, and rather inexpensive, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. Most of us have only ever had them in cookies, oatmeal and granola or baked into breads, but Hester’s new book proves they can be used for so much more. Notable recipes include oat milk, Indian oat dosa, steel-cut oat bean chili, cauliflower and oat pizza crust, bourbon oat shortbread, turtle oat truffles, and even some uses beyond the kitchen, like an oat scrub and oat treats for pets.

After the jump, check out the recipe for Chickpea Veggie Soup, which sounds like a perfect way to warm up during this cooler-than-usual weather.

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